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Friday, January 15, 2016

Tower Park Part Deux - Canadian Style

One year ago Scott, Stan and their friend Mark Zolman played a 6 set match that was known as the Battle of Boxing Day.   The location Tower Courts in Florissant was a set of four carpet courts with sand base.  In 2015 the City of Florissant made a major investment in these courts hiring Vee-Jay Cement  and McConnell and Associates to rebuild the courts with post tension concrete - the gold standard in new court construction.

Lets start with the project.  The project began by removing the existing sand-filled carpet and the fencing. Some minor remediation was done to the existing surface in preparation of the new slab overlay. 

A layer of stone screenings were installed to help provide the proper slope, fill any depressions or cracks, and create a slip sheet for the new 5 inch PT slab. After the slab was installed, a new fence was installed.  

This work was all completed by Vee-Jay.  Once the concrete was cured McConnell and Associates took over and The surface was acid etched, power washed, and checked for low areas prior to any material being installed. The courts were first primed with a two-part epoxy primer to help adhesion to the concrete surface. 

Then one application of acrylic resurfacer and two coats of texturized color were installed. The sand in the surface gives the court a medium pace of play. Last the lines were taped and painted.  In total it took almost three months to complete the project and it received a Quality Concrete Award from The Concrete Council.

Of course you are here to read about the match so here is what happened.   When we arrived to the courts we of course noticed the excellent condition and consistent play of the ball off the surface.  It was a sunny January Day with a high temp of 45 degrees.  Surprisingly while we were there two other players came out to play. 

We decided to play a different format - The Australian version of Canadian Doubles with each player counting all games won and the victor being the first to win 21 games.  Australian style is a format where two play against one and singles lines are in effect on the single side and doubles on the double side.   

Mark started out on the singles side and promptly lost the first three games to Scott and Stan. Everybody was a little off as it was our first hit outside with wind and sun factors.   However a quick poach by Scott and a down the line forehand winner served notice that the oldest player of the three was here to play. 

Stan took to the singles court and lost 2 of this three games with Mark hitting some excellent volleys.  This put the early score at 5 for Scott, 3 for Stan and 2 for Mark.  Scott went over to the singles side and won 2 of 3 and it was during this time that it became apparent that his forehand was on fire.  

Scott's shots were landing deep with spin and often bouncing off the court for a clean winner.  At one point the Florissant Fire Truck went by with sirens blaring and we wondered if they were coming to put out Scott's forehand.  

The match went on with Scott maintaining a commanding lead.  Mark had a run and passed Stan with some fantastic topspin lobs and short angle volleys.  The score crept up to 15 Scott, 10 Mark and 8 Stan and then Stan got a boost with Scott as they won 3 more games from Mark - these were probably the peak points of the match.  

Mark was playing well to no avail as he was victimized by a circus point with dropshots, lobs, volleys that finally ended when Mark hit a hard volley at Scott which Scott stabbed  and produced a lob volley winner over Mark's head.   

On the next point Mark drove a deep topspin ball to Scott's forehand which landed right on the baseline at Scott's feet. Mark smartly followed this ball to the net and somehow Scott timed Mark's ball and blocked it back with a rocket down the line ball which clipped the net and landed in.  

Scott could do no wrong and had the lyrics of the famous song by the Texas band Clique  "I am Superman and I can do anything" playing in his head as he outduelled Stan with a couple forehands and then when Stan finally got the ball to Scott's backhand he sliced a winner behind stan crosscourt.   After about two and a half hours of tennis Scott prevailed 21 to 16 for Stan and 14 for Mark.  A truly great afternoon for tennis and a rare victory for Scott.    

Hats Off to the City of Florissant, Vee-Jay and McConnell for a job well done.  These courts rate a 10 in all respects and are now among the best in the St. Louis Metropolitan Area. 

Last time we played here we went to Old Town Donuts and this time we headed over to Hendels Cafe for a post match beverage and some appetizers.   Hendels is a great family run business in Old Town Florissant with beautiful ambiance.   

We were in luck and it was both Happy Hour and Wine Wednesday.   A bottle of wine was shared, great conversation and a lot of discussion of ideas on how to keep tennis alive on the forgotten courts of our beloved city.   Stay tuned tennis fans...... 

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